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One critical thing to know before you call a locksmith

One critical thing to know before you call a locksmith

When you a need a locksmith, often you're in vulnerable situation. What if it's late at night, and you're alone in a parking lot, but your keys are locked in your car? Or what if you're rushing to the airport on a business trip and you've locked all your keys inside your house? You need a locksmith to help you out right away.

So, what do you do? You do a Google search to find a nearby locksmith. Google will use your GPS to direct you to nearby locksmiths and, depending on what time it is, even locksmiths that provide 24-hour service.

Of course, you most likely won't know the locksmith coming to your car or home, so you read their customers' online reviews. That's smart, and it's a great relief when a trustworthy locksmith helps you out.

Unfortunately, there's one important thing to know before you call a locksmith. Scammers are taking advantage of people like you. They're using something we've told you about before called a lead generator. These are sometimes criminal organizations that create fake websites with photos and customer reviews about locksmiths, including their phone numbers.

Those numbers sometimes connect you to scammers. They'll quote you a good price to unlock your door. But, when they arrive, they either create a bigger bill by damaging your lock or charging up to 10 times their estimate because they say the job was more complicated than they thought.

Note: To its credit, Google does keep tabs on scammers and fake lead generators. The problem is scammers just go ahead and create new phony locksmith listings, if Google gets rid of their site. It's proving difficult for Google to keep up.

So, how can you spot a fake locksmith? Keep reading for a few tips to protect yourself from locksmith scams.

Next page: Finding a real locksmith; spotting a fake
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